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Mayra Ruiz-McPherson is a regular contributor over at GrowSmartBusiness but recently she met entrepreneur Davinder Singh of TalentTrove and had the opportunity to discuss a range of topics including building his online community of artists, the challenges of building an online business and startup struggles.
Forget American Idol. Have you heard about TalentTrove? TalentTrove is an online community for aspiring, "up and coming" artists just waiting for that lucky break which may happen online, thanks to this site that provides performers the ideal platform to showcase their talents to the vast audience of the World Wide Web. Davinder Singh, CEO of TalentTrove, graciously shared some insightful information about how he built this niche online community from the ground up some of the challenges he faced during the initial phases of being a start up.
Here's Davinder's story...
Mayra: What is TalentTrove and how did this online community get started?
Davinder: TalentTrove is a global online talent community created to help individuals share their talents with the world. TalentTrove provides aspiring artists and performers with the opportunity to be discovered. Our users can create, upload, and broadcast their skills and talents in the form of audio and video files, images, or text. The site also provides a virtual community for like-minded individuals to discuss their passions, share mutual opportunities, collaborate, seek advice, and stay connected.
Mayra: How did you launch TalentTrove? What was the inspiration behind such a unique concept?
Davinder: TalentTrove was started to allow the underdog to get an upper hand and be discovered by talent seekers who will scour the site looking for “up and coming” talent. There are millions of undiscovered artists of every week just waiting for the opportunity to shine. With so few outlets available, TalentTrove provides the ideal platform. Most people have a driving need to share their perceived talent(s) with others. I started TalentTrove because I believe these talents are worth sharing regardless of the training, skill, or accomplishment level reflected in the actual execution. I wanted to create a website that provided a level playing field for every type of performer.
Mayra: So who does the site primarily target?
Davinder: Our primary target market is comprised of ordinary people with extraordinary dreams from all over the world. Most have full time jobs unrelated to their perceived talents. They are typically not connected with the creative agencies that could help further their artistic pursuits, nor do they have a clear idea how to promote themselves.
Mayra: With so many online communities out there, what do you do distinguish TalentTrove from the rest?
Davinder: Unlike other websites in the talent space, we serve as a true marketplace for talent and talent seekers. Additionally, we provide a vibrant artistic community for like-minded individuals to share and grow. Our members can take advantage of multiple popular networking features to discuss their passions, share mutual opportunities, seek advice and stay connected.
Mayra: What are some current trends you can identify in your niche space and that your team must keep abreast of for marketing purposes?
Davinder: There is a growing demand for talent-based initiatives. My team and I believe that over the next two years there will be a substantial number of web-based talent searches. But, those will have very short life spans. We want to focus on building a solid and stable community while creating events within. Various contests and competitions offer an opportunity for the community to choose leaders, and for everyone to raise the level of their performance.
Mayra: Talk to me a bit about your business model...
Davinder: We have a very strong business model. Sites like YouTube and Orkut have built their most active audience sets on a video-sharing model. YouTube is currently undergoing legal pressure to drop all copyrighted and trademarked content altogether. This is an issue that will never plague TalentTrove as our content is composed of original works created by our members.
Mayra: What was life like during your start-up phase? What challenges did you face?
Davinder: All startups face their own strengths and weaknesses. I came into TalentTrove knowing that it was a powerful concept and we would be one of the firsts to conquer an under served market. We also have deep technical expertise. TalentTrove features a vast scalable infrastructure consisting of four U.S. locations providing its web content. These locations are in world-class, state-of-the-art hardened data centers shared by the likes of Google and Yahoo. These centers allow for us to guarantee 100% uptime.
Mayra: All entrepreneurs go through hardships and run into the occasional brick wall. What were some of your hardships when you first began TalentTrove?
Davinder: I started the company from ground zero. My team and I had no prior web start-up experience and we did not have any technical or marketing heads. Silicon Valley has an "eco system" for Internet startups. Most of the country's top VC firms and technology based law firms are over there, not to mention the ease with which you can put together your development team in the valley. The east coast, however, does not have any such "eco system" The developers in this region are used to working for companies, such as pharmaceutical and financial companies. Hence, they lack the expertise and drive that is required to build a multimedia user generated content based website. Building our team was the toughest challenge for us and it took a while.
Today, TalentTrove is receiving substantial attention, attracting 2.4 million unique visitors in March. More than 250,000 registered users around the world - ranging from toddlers to 70-year-olds - are uploading more than 500 new files daily.
Congratulations to Davinder and his creative team in launching what clearly is a unique and special place for would-be, red-carpet stars who are presently in their underdog and undiscovered phase. "This is a fair shot. Everyone gets to share the same stage," Davinder says.
And they say in show biz: "Break a leg, Davinder... break a leg!"
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